Divorce can take an emotional and financial toll on the involved parties. Knowing how to identify and protect your assets in a divorce case is vital. An experienced attorney can help you prepare for property division in a legal separation or divorce. An attorney can also recommend experts such as appraisers and forensic accountants.
Just like people invest in property insurance to protect themselves in a fire or natural disaster and purchase life insurance to ensure their loved ones are cleared in case of early death, those entering into marriage should consider prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. These legally binding contracts can help avoid arguments in divorce court over the division of assets, spousal support, and other financial issues.
Experts in family law Hernando County, FL, emphasized that with a prenup, a couple can establish which assets are separate and which are community property. This is especially important when one spouse has significant financial assets before marrying, such as a business, family trust, or inheritance. A prenup is only enforceable if both parties enter it freely and are not under duress or fraud. A postnup can be used if one spouse receives a significant increase in their income or a large inheritance and wants to protect those assets.
People with significant assets can put their wealth in trust to help protect it from creditors and the risk of divorce. However, the level of protection offered depends on the type of trust used and how it is established.
A trustee’s intent for the trust can impact whether the assets are considered separate or marital property in a divorce. Also, trust income may be included as part of a spouse’s financial resources in determining alimony and child support. A trustee can add a “trust protector” to the trust document who has the power to remove beneficiary spouses involved in divorce proceedings or to change the situs (location) of the trust or the governing law of the trust to protect it from litigation or other risks. But, this can be complicated, and the optics may be viewed negatively.
Once a divorce is filed, an automatic injunction is put into effect that prevents either spouse from selling, transferring, hiding, or changing the title of any assets. A skilled attorney can provide advice and names of experts to help ensure that all property is properly valued and identified. This will help protect your rights to the property during a divorce and reduce any potential conflict or disagreements.
Many spouses try to hide assets before divorce by depositing cash in an account they control and removing personal property. However, these attempts typically fail. An experienced divorce lawyer will know how to locate and uncover these hidden assets, especially regarding foreign banks and offshore accounts. Additionally, a skilled attorney will have the experience to spot suspicious transactions such as large withdrawals from joint bank accounts, purchases of new financial assets, and paying loans that don’t appear on credit reports. These activities will lead to the discovery of assets by a knowledgeable attorney and may result in monetary sanctions from the court. A good strategy for protecting assets is to separate bank accounts, remove joint property from the house, and keep accurate records of all expenditures from marital or shared financial resources. This will help your divorce attorney determine the true value of your assets and property for equitable division.